THE
GLOBAL AFRICAN PRESENCE



"History is a light that illuminates the past,

and a key that unlocks the door to the future."

by
Runoko Rashidi

 

RUNOKO RASHIDI’S GLOBAL AFRIKAN PRESENCE

TRAVEL & LECTURE NOTES

"Black people are a global people. Humanity began in Africa and spread to the far corners of the earth, long before enslavement. And the descendants of those original African migrants can still be found in the distant portions of the earth. Even the Europeans and Asians and "Native" Americans, including those white, brown and yellow peoples who hold such lofty positions in the world today, are merely the children and offspring of Black men and women. Africa is the Mother Continent and Africans are the original people of the earth and Africans should have no sense of inferiority. Know thyself!"

--Runoko Rashidi  

 “Runoko Rashidi is a historian, research specialist, writer, world traveler, and public lecturer focusing on the African foundations of world civilizations. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, and has coordinated numerous historic educational group tours worldwide. Dr. Rashidi believes that his main mission in life is to help make Africans proud of themselves, to help change the way Africa is viewed in the world and to help reunite a family of people that has been separated far too long.” (Direct from Website)

 

 

The Nile Valley Presence in Mesoamerica

From the Browder Files

“The question of an African presence in early American civilization was first raised in 1958 when a gigantic head with African features was discovered in the village of Tres Zapotes, Mexico. A brief description of this head appeared in the bulletin of the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics in 1869. It was authored by Jose Meglar and it read:

In 1862 I was in the region of San Andres Tuxtla, a town in the state of Veracruz, in Mexico. During my excursions, I learned that a Colossal Head had been unearthed a few years before… On my arrival at the hacienda I asked the owner [of the property where the head was discovered] to take me to look at it. We went, and I was struck with surprise: as a work of art, it is without exaggeration a magnificent sculpture…what astonished me was the Ethiopic type represented. I reflected that there had undoubtedly been Negroes in this country, and that this had been in the first epoch of the world.

Contemporary scholars reacted to Melgar’s discovery with great skepticism, and a serious investigation was not undertaken until many years later. Matthew Stirling, a researcher with financial backing from the Smithsonian Institution and the National geographic Society, led a archaeological team to Tres Zapotes in 1939 and excavated the gigantic head that Melger had described 77 years earlier. The head was carved from a single block of basalt and its measurements were astounding. It was described as being eight feet high, 18 feet in circumference and it weighed more than ten tons. Stirling’s description of the head echoed the sentiments of Melar. He Stated:

…It presented an awe inspiring spectacle. Despite its great size, the workmanship is delicate and sure, it proportions perfect. Unique in character among aboriginal American sculptures, it is remarkable for its realistic treatment. The features are bold and amazingly Negroid in character.

After achieving tremendous success in Tres Zapots, Stirling later set out for La Venta in the Mexican site of Tabasco, where scholars had earlier reported finding gigantic heads .La Venta turned out to be a veritable gold mine. Stirling found four additional heads–all African in appearance and similar in detail to the head found in Tres Zapotes. In addition to facial similarities, all of the heads wore helmets, -some even wore earplugs, and others had cornrows. Historians have identified these statues as belonging to the Olmec civilization. The word Olmec is derived from the Aztec root ollin, which means “rubber,” thus Olmec may be translated as “the rubber people,” or the people from the land where rubber is produced.

Years of research and excavations have proven that La Venta was the center of the Olmec civilization. It was the home of the Olmec priest/kings and their most sacred site. The four heads found at La Venta had originally been incorporated into a ceremonial platform which was oriented on a north-south axis, as was a pyramid that was also discovered in the same area. This was the first pyramid to have been found in ancient America.

La Venta also yielded evidence that allowed for the dating of the Olmec statues. At the location where the heads were found, nine samples of wood charcoal were taken from the remains of the ceremonial court. Five of these samples were believed to have been incorporated into the platform which once held the heads and they were radiocarbon dated. The dates attributed in the samples ranged from 1160 to 580 B.C.E. - more than 3,000 years ago. To date, a total of 16 heads have been found at other sites. The heads vary in weight from ten to 40 tons and the largest is nine feet, four inches high.

There were a number of skulls and skeletons found in graves at various Olmec sites. A careful study of them lent great support in the theory that there was a significant African presence within the Olmec population. In September, 1974, at the 41st Congress of Americanist in Mexico, Dr. Andrrzej Wiercinski, one of the world’s leading skull experts, announced that African skulls had been found at Olmec sites in Cerro de Las Measa, Monte Alban and Talatilco.

Wiercinski’s evidence noted that the pre-Classic cemetery of Talatilco, 13.5 percent of the skeletons examined were found to be African, as compared to 4.5 percent African skeletons found in the cemetery at Cerro de Las Measa, which dated from the later Classic period. Graves from the pre-dated Classic period showed native American female skeletons buried alongside African males, but the couples found buried at the later Classic sites were found to be racially similar. This skeletal evidence indicated that an African element intermixed with the indigenous population at an early date (the pre-Classic period) and had been significantly absorbed into the native group by the Classic period.

The skeletal information suggest that an African element appeared during the early years of the Olmec civilization, and was genetically absorbed into the general population over the years… A significant number of their skeletons were found buried in royal graves. “The stone heads and skeletal remains prove that there was a n African presence in ancient America. The question begging an answer is, “From what part of Africa did these people come? Upon examination of all the evidence, the obvious answer is “the Nile Valley.”

One of the first clues linking the Olmec heads to the Nile Valley was the helmets, which are identical in every detail to those worn by Nubian soldiers in Africa between 948 and 680 B.C.E. Dr. Ivan Van Setima, noted author of They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in America, described the similarity between the Olmec and Nubian helmets:

If we examine some of these helmets we will find they are uncannily similar to leather helmets worn by the Egyptian-Nubian military in the era of the Ramessides (Egyptian-kings) and in the first millennium B.C. They completely cover the head and the back of the neck, and they have tie-ons attached to the crest and falling in front of the ears. The details on some of them, although almost 3.000 thousand years old, have become a little obscured, but there is one in particular, now in the Jalapa Museum, which can be examined for comparative purposes. It has circular earplug and incised decorative paralleled lines found on other colossal Nubian heads in the Egyptian seaport of Tanis.

The Nubian people that Van Sertima referenced played a major role at the beginning and the ending f civilization in Kemet, and history has proven them to be the true custodians of Nile Valley traditions. The Nubian kingdom of Ta-Seti gave rise to the culture In the north around 3400 B.C.E., and the Nubian rulers of the Twenty Fifth Dynasty (750-675 B.C.E.) brought political stability to Kemet during the last centuries of native rule. The Nubians were responsible for initiating numerous building projects, such as temple construction, pyramid building and mummification, during the same time from that Africans began appearing in the America (1160-580 B.C.E.).”

Unlike the Olmec heads, of which 16 have been discovered, there are thousands of African images in terra cotta which were made between 1500 B.C.E. and 1500 A.C.E. Von Wuthenau’s most recent publication is entitled Unexplained Faces in Ancient America, and despite criticism of his research by some scholars and associates, he has been given constant support by members of the Mexican government, including former president Portillo, Von Wuthenau recently expressed his reasoning for continuing his research:

After thirty-five years of intense study concerning the human images forged by pre-Columbian artist. I dare to put these artist on the historical witness stand. In these times of racial unrest, a cool evaluation of historical truth and the re-acknowledgment of ethnic roots—behind and below the ancient population of the Americas—should have a sobering and healing effect on many a confused mind.

Many health care practitioners believe that overcoming denial is the first step towards healing a confused mind. There must exist within the world a yet—unnamed disorder which impairs vision and allows people to actually believe that African-looking images are not what they appear to be. This disease has already reached epidemic proportions among researchers of Nile Valley history and it is now affecting researchers of Meso American history. For example, Michael Coe, Harvard-educated and chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Yale. He is recognized as America’s leading historian on Mexico, and says that the Olmec heads have broad noses and thick lips because the tools used to cut them were too blunt to make sharer noses and thinner lips. Coe reasons tht this was done because the sculptors did not want to create “protruding or thin facial features that might break off.”

What logic did Coe use to justify this line of reasoning? He simply stated, “I hope nobody, a thousand years from now, thinks that people had two noses and three eyes in our time just because Picasso painted people that way.” Terra cotta sculptures of African images found in pre-Columbian America are displayed in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city and in the Diego Revera Museum. They can also be found in the private collections of Josue Saenz and Alexander von Wuthenau. When this same Michael Coe, one of Americ’s foremost archeologists, was asked if he knew of these clay sculptures that corroborate the ethnicity of the Olmec heads, he admitted that he had never heard of them.

One of the most extensive collections of Olmec heads can be found in the Mexican city of Jalapa Museum of Anthropology. Upon entering the museum one can see overhead a decaration, carved in stone, which attest to the significant contributions of the Olmec people. It reads:

This is the root of your history, its cradle and its altar. Listen to the most silent voices of the most ancient culture in Mexico, the mother of the civilization of our continent. The Olmecs converted rain into harvest, the sun into a calendar, stone into sculpture, cotton into cloth, pilgrimage into commerce, mountains into thrones, jaguars into religion and men into gods.

Browder, Anthony T., Explodng the Myths Vol.1 Nile Valley Contribution to Civilization. The Institute of Karmic Guidance, Washington D.C. 1992. p. 209-213.

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